Guilt is one of the best tools to have on board for helping us to know when we have done something wrong. That’s it! It has no other use.
What we’ve done as a society is adopted this word to simplify what it is we are really feeling. We tend to say ‘Oh I feel so guilty’ just like we say ‘FINE’ when asked how we are.
Using the word FINE or Guilty is using a generic language box that tells others nothing.
It uses assumptions that others will understand what you mean. I get it! Socially it serves to stay safe from deeper conversation about real feelings and struggles…
Is this what you want to continue with?
Is it what you want for your daughters?
Let us build the emotional intelligence of our words and find opportunities to share them with our kids.
Guilt is the go to word for much deeper feelings and when we allow ourselves to use is as a casual greeting, in its standalone form we lose track of how we are truly feeling
Feeling guilty is not a standalone generic term, it is unique to your set of feelings, perceptions and emotions. Here are some words that I have heard moms use when describing what their ‘guilt’. It was not about feeling guilty, but rather other feelings…
remorseful, worried, regretful. ashamed, sad, grieving, wistful, sinful, dishonored, bad, undeserving, responsible, failed, embarrassed,,,
It begins with you.
I encourage you to reach for the words that more closely relate to how you feel rather than generalizing. Use those words to describe the struggle of the moment instead of ‘guilty’. When you build your emotional intelligence you are in a place to exchange healthier emotional language. You can choose to translate the information you are learning so that you are not absently transmitting the emotional limits you may have suffered.
Your daughter is watching you to learn her emotional and social cues, from toddlerhood through teens she will seek your knowledge, approval and acceptance for demonstrating what she’s learned. She will be modeling how you approach the world using your emotional intelligence as her guide. She will reflect what she learned.
– explore feelings and the words that best describe them specifically
– talk about guilt and how it works to remind you that you crossed a line- ask what is that line?
– build a feeling vocabulary list – post it to the fridge
– give yourself permission to feel vulnerable when talking with kids
– spend time listening to your daughter work out her own problems – guide not direct
When you take care of you, you help take care of her.